EDGAR E. FYKE.
One of the most prominent men in Centralia, Illinois, both in the business and in the professional fields, is Doctor Edgar E. Fyke. He started in life a poor boy, but he had his father's fondness for books, and he was full of ambition, so making up his mind that if energy and perseverance could win for him his goal he would make a success in the same profession that his father had chosen. Success has come to him not only as a physician but as a business man. He has now retired from active medical practice, but he is still a prominent figure in the business world. He is a large stock-holder and is general manager of one of the most important commercial enterprises in and around Centralia.
The tact and patience which he learned as a physician have served him well in this position, where one of his biggest problems is the management of men. He has built up a good sized private fortune, but he has been too close to the suffering of the world to profit at the expense of others, consequently his money does not bear the taint of having been wrung from weak and toil worn fingers, but has been made by honest and upright business methods. Dr. Fyke, having spent so many years in the service of others, has never lost the habit of thinking much of and for others, and this generosity and big heartedness has won him the regard and affection of the people of Centralia.
Edgar E. Fyke was born in Odin, Illinois, on the 23rd of December, 1868. He was the son of John J. Fyke and Minerva T. (Phillips) Fyke. His father, John J. Fyke, was born in 1842, at Tennessee Prairie, Marion county, Illinois. He is the son of Josiah A. and Margaret (Wilson) Fyke. The former was born in Tennessee and came to Marion county about 1840. He took up government land and settled down to the life of a farmer. His wife was the first white child born in Marion county, the date of her birth being 1822. Her family, the Wilsons came to Marion county about 1818, being pioneers from North Carolina. They took up government land and, being industrious and able people, developed the land into great and prosperous farms. Josiah Fyke and his wife raised a large family of children. He spent all of his life as a farmer, and died in 1878.
John J. Fyke is a self made man. His father was too busy to sympathize with his ambitions, and although he gave him what aid he could in obtaining his education, yet he had a large family and a small income, and there was little to spare for the education of his young son. Consequently John Fyke learned the true value of an education in working for it. He attended McKendree College at Lebanon, Illinois, for a time, and then he began the study of medicine with Doctor Davenport, of Salem, Illinois. After accomplishing considerable work under the tutelage of the older man, he entered a medical college in Chicago, and after spending some time there he went to St. Louis, where he matriculated at a similar institution. He won fame as a scholar, ranking among the first in his class in both the St. Louis and the Chicago schools. He began to practice in 1866, and since that time he has been in almost constant service. He is still practicing in Odin, Illinois, and what the people of this town would do without this old friend and adviser would be hard to say. He is a Mason and has served in all the chairs of his chapter. In his religious affiliations he is a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Doctor Fyke married Miss Minerva Phillips, a daughter of Thomas and Eliza (Chadwell) Phillips. Thomas Phillips and his wife were both natives of Tennessee, and had come to Illinois in about 1855. Here they settled down as farmers and save for the years during which Thomas Phillips served in the army during the Black Hawk war he spent his life as a farmer.
Edgar E. Fyke received his elementary education in Odin, Illinois, and when he was ready to take up his professional studies his father sent him to the city where he had spent a large part of his school days, St. Louis, Missouri. Here he entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons, from which he was graduated in 1889. He then returned to Odin, where he went into practice with his father. This was a wise move on his part, for in addition to the advice that the older man could give him from his wider professional experience, the influence of the strong and upright character of his father was a steadying influence on the young man just starting out, eager with enthusiasm. He spent five years in association with his father and then came to Centralia, where he spent
fifteen years in practice. During this time he has not allowed the advance made in his profession to slip by him, but has endeavored to keep abreast of the times, not only by reading and studying the modern medical literature, but by taking post-graduate courses. During the year of 1900 and 1901 he was in New York City doing post graduate work, and his patients have greatly benefited by this work of his.
He is no longer an active practitioner, but he still evinces great interest in medicine and in the related sciences. At present most of his time is given to his duties as manager of the Marion County Coal Company, which owns one of the most valuable mines in the state of Illinois. He himself owns a large block of this stock, and is also the owner of other large properties. He has a half interest in the Red Cross Drug Store, which is a very profitable business. In his political views Doctor Fyke is a Democrat, and while he has never held office he is always an enthusiastic worker in behalf of the party. Like his father, he is a prominent Mason, and has passed through all the chairs of the Chapter, being in addition a Knight Templar. He is, in short, one of the best known and most popular men in Centralia. A man whose opinions are listened to, and whose views are respected.
In 1896, Doctor Fyke was married to Helen Morrison, the daughter of N. R. Morrison, of Odin. He was an early settler of Odin, and had managed to amass considerable property by the time he was ready to retire from the business world. He died quite recently, at the age of eighty-seven. Three children have been born to Doctor and Mrs. Fyke, Jean, who is in the high school, and Helen and Lavinia, who are also both in school.